The spring STAAR tests may only occupy a few weeks in April and May, but the preparation to succeed on the increasingly rigorous exams is a year-long work in progress.
“Because of state mandates, we must prepare for students for STAAR tests every day throughout the year,” said DISD Superintendent Dr. Henry Scott. “We utilize benchmark exams to give us a snapshot of where our kids are on the learning curve, in relation to where they need to be. This allows our curriculum coordinators and teachers to adjust focus, revisit subject matter, help students individually and in groups, and provide tutoring and extra help for those who need it. We also receive a tremendous amount of support from our families and community. Together, we’re making a lot of great progress every year.”
Educators say they’re doing everything they can to prepare students for success on the STARR tests. “Our Denison teachers are among the best in Texas. They’re well-trained in current methodology and student-centered instruction…and 100% dedicated to helping every student be successful,” said Shonda Cannon, Denison ISD’s Director of Instructions. “Our teachers do an amazing job of identifying strengths and weaknesses utilizing benchmark tests and other indicators. Effective Campus Improvement Plans also play a big part in continued improvement. Targeted and tailored tutoring, remediation and intervention programs are also in place, with many teachers and students coming in early and staying late to ensure mastery. Most of our parents and families are more than willing to adjust schedules to meet their students’ needs, giving them the extra time they need to prepare and succeed on these rigorous tests.”
Scott, who meets regularly with campus leaders and teachers, is optimistic about student performance on the upcoming tests. “Early indicators reveal a high level of learning, but we always have room for improvement…so we’ll continue to study and work hard. Historically, the team effort throughout DISD has been tremendous, yielding impressive results across the board. This is evident in our consistently high local and national rankings, with DHS graduation rates among the best in the nation.”
Denison ISD counselors and principals are also urging parents and students to begin establishing good habits now, so they’ll be part of daily routines by the time STAAR testing gets underway. Suggestions include: get at least eight hours of sleep each night; eat a healthy breakfast; turn in homework on time; avoid scheduling appointments on test days; arrive at school on time every day with a positive attitude; stay focused, relaxed and on-task; read directions and follow instructions carefully; and last but not least…listen, learn and be prepared.
Interactive science experiments at Camp Goddard, an environmental studies and science camp located in Oklahoma’s Arbuckle Wilderness, motivate and inspire many Denison fifth graders to excel in science-related fields of study throughout their educational careers.
Students in Courtney Johnson’s 6th grade classroom at B. McDaniel Intermediate School fine-tune their listening skills as their teacher carefully explains an upcoming work assignment.
Kristen Thompson’s 4th graders at Lamar Elementary school sharpen their science skills through exploration, experimentation and discovery.
Families and friends recently joined students and staff at Terrell Elementary school to celebrate their students’ many personal and academic successes, all which contribute to success on STAAR tests.